Childcare classes and Amazon Reviews may help you decide which swaddle to buy or diaper to use, but those nifty little tricks that streamline your daily life as a parent? They can only come from experience and common wisdom shared by ninja parents who’ve been there, done that and are kind enough to share their genius. These efficiencies may not get you an extra hour of sleep, but they go a long way toward making your day calmer, cleaner and generally more pleasant. Who isn’t into that?
- Original Sprout Leave-In Conditioner. My daughter has fine, thin, curly hair (the trifecta of snarls), so she awakes most mornings with a cotton candy afro. Hair styling was an agonizing cryfest until we discovered Original Sprout Leave-In Conditioner: just a quarter-size amount combed through wet hair in the evening post-bath, and she wakes up with loose, silky, manageable curls. My kid is still a drama queen about hair styling, but at least now I have the moral high ground of knowing I’m not actually hurting her. I also love that Sprout is vegan, organic, smells delightful and is suitable for use by the whole family.
- Rain, Rain Sleep Sounds App. The Sleep Sheep sure is adorable, but white noise that automatically shuts off after a prescribed period of time is a sure-fire recipe for premature sleep disruption. White noise machines can play ad infinitum, but they’re often bulky and require an electrical outlet. Priss & Vinegar’s solution is the Rain, Rain Sleep Sounds App, which has a wide array of rain sounds (Summer Rain and City Rain are favorites); higher volume than our previous favorite app, Sleep Pillow; and an optional sleep timer. Rain, Rain is free, so I’ve put it on every mobile phone and tablet in our home (as have all the grandparents) so whether we’re in the car, out with the stroller, or on a visit, we’re never without something to soothe our sleepy, savage beasts.
- Double Crib Sheeting. Changing crib linens is a real beyotch, so I love this recommendation from one of my husband’s dearest college friends: layer your crib mattress starting with a waterproof mattress cover, then a fitted sheet, then another waterproof mattress cover and another fitted sheet on top of that. When your kid inevitably blows out, barfs or otherwise befouls his bed in the middle of the night, just rip off the top two layers and a completely clean set is waiting for you underneath. Now go back to sleep and deal with those nasty linens in the morning…
- Contigo Coffee Cup. It’s such a drag when the stroller hits a bump and your coffee volcanoes all over the cupholder. Ditch those paper to-go cups and put your precious morning coffee in a Contingo Autoseal Stainless Travel Mug. Eco-friendly, spill-proof, toddler-proof (see above) and thoroughly insulated, they’re also safe to toss in the diaper bag or leave on the playroom floor unattended (unless your kid is MacGyver, in which case, I am SO sorry).
- Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf. I first wrote about this when my daughter was an infant, and two years later my Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf still looks awesome and multitasks like a champ. I spend much of my day out of the house and inevitably need something to discreetly cover up while feeding my son or pumping in the backseat of my car. Instead of stashing a single-function nursing cover in my bag, the Vinyasa can be worn as a scarf (freeing up valuable bag space), skiing gator, baby wearing cover-up (one loop went around mine and my baby’s bodies perfectly, unsnapped to function as a picnic blanket, carseat privacy shield, stroller blanket, or cozy airplane cover-up. To note, these scarves are seasonal accessories at Lululemon so Moscow Shopping Rules apply: grab it immediately and don’t put it down until you reach the register!
- Contact Information Labels for Strollers. I was hiking recently with a dear friend when I noticed a label on her stoller’s handlebar with her name and phone number clearly printed on it. So simple. So obvious. So GENIUS. Why did I meticulously label my kid’s $7 sippy cups but not our costly fleet of strollers?! This would have come in awfully handy that one time I forgot to toss my umbrella stroller in the trunk and abandoned it on a busy city sidewalk. By the time I realized what I’d done, the stroller was gonzo. (And if you see a homeless man strolling the Marina District with a red UppaBaby G-Luxe full of aluminum cans, remind him the sun shade is a little glitchy.) To note, Priss & Vinegar likes Oliver’s Labels “Original” Labels for adhesive labeling of children’s items and gear.